We're Going to Need More Wax...!
Feb 25, 2006 (Updated Jun 3, 2007)
Review by thevoid99
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Apatow's Direction, Script, Music, Locations, Look, Humor, & Cast notably Carell.
The Bottom Line: The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a Hilarious, Sweet Masterpiece from Director Judd Apatow led by Funny, Oddball Performance of Steve Carell.
Many young people's desire in their life is to lose their virginity yet some fail. In 2005, a surprisingly sweet, low-brow comedy about a man's attempt to lose his virginity with the help of his friends. The result isn't just one of the year's funniest movies but a surprise in the box office and with critics in the films simply titled The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Directed by Freaks & Geeks creator Judd Apatow, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is about a shy, 40-year-old virgin whose virginity becomes a cause for his co-workers until he meets a sweet, grandmother in her 40s.
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Playing the title role of Andy is the film's co-screenwriter and executive producer Steve Carell, whose previous film credits in Bruce Almighty and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy plus his TV work in the American version of The Office has garnered him attention. With Judd Apatow as a co-screenwriter, Carell creates a film about a guy who goes through a life-changing experience as he touches the hearts of everyone around him. Also starring Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romani Marco, Seth Rogen Jane Lynch, Elizabeth Banks, and Lesley Mann. The 40-Year-Old Virgin is one 2005's biggest surprises that is heartwarming and downright funny.
For the mild-mannered, sweet 40-year old Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell), his life is a quiet one fulfilled by his collection of unopened toys that are worth a lot of money. While he also have video games and other things, Andy seems to think that he has a decent life while working as a storage manager in an electronics appliance store. While his co-workers including his boss Paula (Jane Lynch) find him nice, they don't make him part of a collective gang. When co-worker David (Paul Rudd) wants to hold a poker game with fellow co-workers Cal (Seth Rogen), Jay (Romani Marco), and old Indian worker Mooj (Gerry Bednob), they needed a fifth player since Haziz (Shelley Malil) isn't available, they ask Andy to join in the game. Things going great except for Mooj who leaves early as a discussion of sex becomes embarrassing for Andy as he is revealed to be a virgin. Embarrassed, Andy is forced to recall his memory as a young guy (Michael Bierman) going through troubling, awful situations in trying to lost his virginity.
Jay wants to hold a personal mission to help Andy lose his virginity while David also wants to help him but not pressure him since he had broken up with a girl named Amy (Mindy Kaling) who broke up with him a few years ago. Cal helps along in the mission to help Andy lose his virginity as the gang try to get Andy to do it fast by going to a party where Andy gets into a disastrous venture with a crazy, alcoholic woman named Nicky (Leslie Mann). The night was a disaster as the next day, Andy meets a woman named Trish (Catherine Keener) who works across the street in a company that sells things from Ebay. The success of nabbing Trish's number becomes a celebration for the gang as it's a step-up for Andy yet trying to call her has made him scare. With Jay wanting to get Andy to get more with cool side while David lends him his old porn tapes, and Cal wanting him to maintain his quirkiness, Andy gets a successful response when he tries to flirt with a book store owner in Beth (Elizabeth Banks).
In order to get to know more women, the gang go speed-dating where David sees Amy as it becomes a disaster as Andy gets freaked out and David gets into an emotional breakdown. Hearing about the mission for Andy, Paula decides to get involved as his one way chance while promoting him as floor manager. After a weird encounter with a transvestite hooker (Jazzmun), Andy finally gets the courage to go on a date with Trish after meeting her at her workplace. Things start out great until an attempt to have sex with her becomes awkward when he meets her second daughter Marla (Kat Dennings). Learning that Trish is a grandmother in her 40s, Andy likes the idea as he befriends the youngest daughter Julia (Chelsea Smith) with magic while his relationship with Trish flourishes as they decide to ignore sex for a while.
With Andy getting more out of his shell, his change starts to effect those around, notably Jay whose relationship with girlfriend Jill (Erica Vittina Phillips) was finished due to his constant cheating. Cal has tried to get David to notice a new, young co-worker in Robin (Denise Myerson) but as the pressure for Andy to lose his virginity come around. Even when he reveals to Marla that he's a virgin after a counseling session in her own attempt, she realizes why he acts weird. Things begin to affect his growing and affectionate relationship with Trish as his attempt to try and change his own life that involved his cherished collectibles starts to affect him as it's up to his friends to help him as Andy wonders if he will ever achieve true love.
Most comedies, especially raunchy ones try to do anything to make people laugh, even through some of the sickest and most absurd of situations. In the case of the screenplay that Judd Apatow and Steve Carell wrote, they go for that but have a balance of character study since the story revolves around Andy Stitzer. Comedy is hard to create, especially in trying to make people laugh but Apatow fortunately creates jokes and situations that aren't forced and actually do make people laugh. Yet, the screenplay is the heart of the story since the film is really about a shy mans ability to grow up and become a better man while the people around him also go through some changes. It's easily one of the best scripts, mostly because of the character development. Even smaller characters like the Indian guys Mooj and Haziz may seem like stereotypical men but throughout the film, the characters go way beyond the stereotypes.
The jokes are also funny, especially the jokes about being gay are wonderfully done since it's not meant to be homophobic but funny in a small way. It's great the way Apatow and Carell create jokes and situations for the film as they find ways to make people laugh and be involved with the characters. While some have complained about the film's ending where it leads to a sing-a-long to The Age Of Aquarius, it's just a nice absurd break from the film, especially since the audience feels good at this point. Apatow's direction works in visualizing these situations and moments where there's attempts for Andy to have fantasies that end up becoming awkward. Yet the awkwardness and naivete of Andy's character works since Apatow knows that this guy is a bit offbeat but we care for him. It's smart and carefree directing that Apatow succeeds in creating a wonderfully sweet, funny film.
Helping Apatow on expanding his vision is cinematographer Jack Green whose color schemes and locations of California bring the right tone, especially in giving the film a realistic look. Production designer Jackson DeGovia and costume designer Debra McGuire also bring a realistic look and feel to the film's scenes of the store that Andy works in as well as the social places of clubs with McGuire bringing in the right kind of clothes that each character would wear. Whether in its rated, 117-minute version or the unrated 133-minute cut of the film, editor Brent White does great job in making the film move along very leisurely while cutting from perspective to perspective in Apatows direction. Score composer Lyle Workman does great score work in getting the cues and places for comedy and drama while the film's soundtrack is also used with great cuts from Lionel Richie, Joe Walsh, Missy Elliott, Wreckx-N-Effect, James Brown, Salt-N-Pepa, and of course, Michael McDonald who appears frequently on the TV that is played in the stereo. Plus, there's a great scene involving Asia's classic Heat Of The Moment that plays to great, climatic moment in the film.
Finally, we have the film's great ensemble cast of the film where everyone has a moment to stand out. From smaller performances like former wrestler Kimberly Page, Siena Goines, Gilliam Vigman, and comedian Mo Collins as speed-daters to cameos from Rudd and Carell's Anchorman co-star David Koechner, Carell's wife Nancy Walls, and porn actress Stormy Daniels. Other notable small roles from Chelsea Smith as Trish's youngest daughter Julia, Kat Denning's angst-ridden Marla, Michael Bierman's 16-year old Andy, and Andy's old neighbors played by Lee Weaver and Gloria Helena Jones are wonderful as is tranvestite Jazzmun as a prostitute, Mindy Kaling as Amy, Miki Mia as a waxing lady, Erica Vittina Phillips as Jay's girlfriend in a hilarious confrontation with her and Carell, and Denise Myerson as Robin, the girl who Cal wants to vy for David's affections. Jane Lynch is very funny as Andy's boss Paula who is very funny in suggestion that she becomes Andy's "f*ck-buddy".
Gerry Bednob is extremely funny as the old Indian salesman Mooj whose worldly advice on sex is extremely funny as he manages to steal every scene he's in as is Shelley Malil in a scene-stealing scene as fellow co-worker Haziz. Lesley Mann is also funny as the drunk, aloof Nicky while Elizabeth Banks also reveals a very funny, freaky side as the beautiful but offbeat Beth. Co-producer Seth Rogen is very funny as the stoner, big man Cal whose dirty, offbeat take on women is very funny while revealing that while he may not be very attractive, his personality and offbeat nature makes him an appealing character. Romani Marco is also funny as the ladies' man Jay whose aggressive advice on women is funny while revealing a more complex side later on as his character grows.
Paul Rudd is a wonderfully underrated actor in whatever medium he's in as he balances his technique in comedy and drama in giving a hilarious, sympathetic performance as a heartbroken man on the edge to cynicism as Rudd brings in a great supporting performance. Catherine Keener is excellent as the sweet, neurotic Trish who has troubles dealing with the relationships in her own life. Keener brings all the right notes as a woman who is the perfect counterpart to the shy, awkward Andy as she and Carell have amazing chemistry that brings a sweet, funny side to everything they do.
Finally, there's Steve Carell in a true, star-making performance. If Carell's talents in comedy are a delight in his previous work, he does more in this film. Even going into a bit of dramatic territory, Carell brings the right note of sympathy and oddball wit into his character where hes a guy that everyone can root for and relate to. In many situations where he's alone, Carell has a playful quality but whenever he's in a situation, there are these eyes that you know, something could go wrong. While his work in many of the film's dramatic and more awkward moments are wonderful, even with the actors and actresses hes working with. His approach to comedy is wonderful since its all done naturally and in moments that everyone can relate to. Even the scene where he's getting his chest waxed, it's him not really acting but that pain in getting all that hair waxed sells. Screaming out everything from curse words to Kelly Clarkson is a true moment in cinema. This film makes it clear that Steve Carell has officially arrived.
In a year of uninspiring comedies that doesn't exactly the right note, The 40-Year-Old Virgin fulfills all of those expectations and more thanks to the mind of director Judd Apatow and his co-writer and star Steve Carell. With a great supporting cast and loads of sweet moments and hilarious ones, the film has enough raunchiness and human moments that audiences can relate to. While it's a comedy meant for young adults, this film has universal appeal to all adult audiences, even older teens who can enjoy the humor. In the end, The 40-Year-Old Virgin provides all the right notes for the perfect comedy that has heart and laughs.
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